Home Secretary reveals new plans to prevent knife crime

Date published: 08 February 2019

After crime rates in Greater Manchester were revealed to be higher than anywhere else in the country outside of London, The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced new actions to deal with knife crime, focusing particularly on youths and gang members.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the total number of incidents involving knives or sharp instruments reported in Greater Manchester between September 2017 – September 2018 was 3,139. These incidents can be broken down as follows:

  • Attempted murder – 37 incidents – third highest in the country
  • Threats to kill – 218 incidents – third highest in the country
  • Assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm – 1,301 incidents
  • Robbery – 1,505 incidents – third highest in the country
  • Rape and sexual assault – 65 incidents
  • Homicide – 13 incidents - third highest in the country

Offences involving knives or sharp instruments increased by 7% from the previous year, and the total amount of crime reported across Greater Manchester was revealed to be the second highest in the country.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, will be introducing new orders to prevent criminals carrying blades, with the hope to decrease the incident figures by enhancing police powers.

The government will also seek to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill to introduce Knife Crime Prevention Orders, which will apply to any person aged 12 or over, preventing young people from possessing sharp instruments and being involved with knife crime.

A prevention order can be imposed on anyone who police believe to be carrying a knife, people who are habitual knife carriers or people previously convicted of a knife related offence.

Once a prevention order has been placed on someone, they will have to comply to restrictions such as limitations to social media use, having a curfew and having geographical restrictions to discourage rival disputes. Failure to comply will result in a criminal offence and they could be sent to prison for two years.

On introducing the measures, the Home Secretary said: “I have been clear that I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives.

“The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle. I have listened to their calls and will be introducing these new orders to stop gang members carrying knives in the first place.

“It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place.”

Further action will also be taken against retailers to reduce knife crime as a new £500,000 prosecution fund will help Trading Standards teams secure the prosecution of retailers who repeatedly sell knives to under 18s.

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